Child poverty set to soar, says think tank

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The number of children living in poverty in Britain will rise by 600,000 to 2.8 million by 2012-13, according to the Institute of Fiscal Studies. The think-tank says that the overall effect of the Coalition's welfare reforms is likely to be an increase in child poverty in Britain by the end of the decade.

The introduction of Iain Duncan Smith's universal credit will lift 450,000 children out of poverty but, the IFS says, other benefit changes – such as linking payment increases to consumer prices – will offset this. It projects that by the end of the decade, 23 per cent of children will be in absolute poverty and 24 per cent in relative poverty.

That would mean the legally binding targets set under the 2010 Child Poverty Act being comprehensively missed. The 2010 Child Poverty Act set a target for absolute poverty to fall to 5 per cent of children and relative poverty to fall 10 per cent by 2020.

The Department for Work and Pensions says the IFS did not take into consideration the beneficial impact on poverty levels that it expects to result from improving the incentives for parents to work.